(CBS) No one ever said a chase for a championship through the MLB postseason was going to be easy. The Cubs have certainly discovered that firsthand.
Their bats falling silent once again, the Cubs lost 6-0 to the Dodgers in Game 3 on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, falling behind 2-1 in the National League Championship Series. Two nights after understandably getting stymied by ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, the Cubs more puzzlingly couldn’t solve left-hander Rich Hill or a trio of Dodgers relievers. In the last 18 innings, Chicago has mustered just six hits and no runs.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon thought the team’s approach at the plate was fine, but the timing was off.
“There’s no excuse,” Maddon said. “We just have to pick it up quickly.
“We got to get back to making hard contact.”
On a night the Cubs really needed right-hander Jake Arrieta to display his Cy Young form of 2015, he wasn’t up to the task. The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a two-out RBI single from Corey Seager, then used the long ball to strike against Arrieta. Yasmani Grandal drilled a two-out, two-run homer in the fourth, and Jacob Turner led off the sixth inning with a solo shot to end Arrieta’s night.
Arrieta took the loss, going five innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits and no walks while striking out five.
Hill earned the win with six scoreless innings, scattering two hits and two walks while striking out five. The only jam he encountered was a one-out situation in the second inning in which the Cubs had runners at second and third, but he struck out Addison Russell on a nasty curveball and induced a groundout from Miguel Montero.
Russell’s strikeout in the key situation continued a prolonged slump that has reached the depth to which Maddon chose to pinch hit Jason Heyward — the $184 million outfielder who was benched because of his offensive struggles — for the All-Star shortstop in the seventh inning. Russell is now 1-of-24 in the postseason.
“It’s more of a mental exercise than it is a physical one for me,” Maddon said.
“There’s not a whole lot to do besides come out and play tomorrow … We just need to get a couple hits and runs early to kind of get that feeling back.”
With their season edging closer to the brink, the Cubs will start veteran right-hander John Lackey against 20-year-old Dodgers rookie left-hander Julio Urias in Game 4 on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. First pitch is set for 7:08 p.m., and the hometown call can be heard on 670 The Score.
“I like our chances,” Arrieta said when asked about the 2-1 deficit.